Spoiler Alert for those who might yet watch the first episode of Heist.
There are things which run suddenly through fiction because it has appeared in fact. If there’s some sort of dramatic development (say, people ejected from Death Row based on DNA evidence), you can be sure that it will quickly show up in the movies and on TV, most blatantly in one of those “badly traced from the headlines” Law and Order episodes.
And then there are things which suddenly run through fiction because, well, they run through fiction. A dramatic idea is reused on various front. For example, there’s the “person forced to pull of a robbery”. In TV, comics, and film, I’ve seen it repeatedly of late – either a kidnapped relative is used to force someone to do the robbery, or a remote-detonated bomb is strapped to the forced robber. I can’t name every place I’ve seen it, it’s the sort of thing that blurs together. But it’s running through fiction at the moment, and to the best of my (limited) knowledge it has no real source in reality. And it pops up again on Heist.
Now, the heist genre has never really relied on realism. It’s about contrived solutions that appear to be intelligent answers to contrived problems. But “intelligent” is the key, and it’s the place where Heist falls down. In the first episode, as the first step to a big heist, the heistmeisters decide to rob a bank to get funds for the series’ main heist. Now, robbing backs is not exactly known as the low-risk way to riches; bank robbers typically don’t get away with it and those that get away with it don’t get much. But to make it stupider, these guys see a bank robbery in progress, figure out that it will be a string of bank robberies, and put a lot of effort and some visible expense into finding a way to divert the money that these other bank robbers (who are themselves using a method that seems to ensure not only that they not get that much money, but that also involves some expense, ensures that at least some of the perpetrators will be identified, and sets them up for charges far more heinous than bank robbery should they succeed… really, a plan that only makes sense if ones goal is to feed the plot of a story.)
In any case, while some of the criminals are arguably acting clever (and never that clever, really), ain’t none of them acting smart.
And while there is some reasonable banter here, none of it has anyone exuding the sort of charm that can endear one to the folks in a heist film, nor do they have some justification as to why their targets deserve to be targets. Heck, we see them pull needless and cruel pranks on someone who has already had a gun to his head and currently has a bomb involuntarily strapped to his chest; these are not nice guys on any visible level. As such, while these folks may be the protagonists, one is neither won over nor convinced to cheer for their activities, and given its lack of realism, it cannot be an “intriguing look”. So the only remaining reason to watch is simply to see the mechanics of the heist and the plot, and the first episode was not enough to convince me that these will be done well.
It’s not painfully unwatchable or anything. It’s just a “so what”.
Apparently, they’re rerunning the pilot tonight, for those who missed it.

Published in: on March 27, 2006 at 12:29 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I agree 100% with all your comments, and will only add that the character of the racist white cop who continually baited his black colleague (and eventual partner) added to the sense of unreality for me.

  2. You’re right on that. It was as though someone saw the “playful racial banter” that has become a cop show/movie cliche and didn’t quite get it.

  3. Well, there was the pizza delivery guy with the bomb necklace who claimed to have been forced to rob a bank: http://www.pizzamarketplace.com/news_story_18242.htm

    (Of the many URLs I could have used, that domain was the most fitting.)

  4. Ah, somehow I missed that.

    I will note that it did not prove a particularly effective way to rob a bank, as they got no money…

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